A bio-inspired robotic prey fish

Locomotion is one of the most important behaviors animals engage in. It plays an outsize role on the outcome of predator-prey interactions. Predators must decide when and how to pursue evasive prey, while prey have to time and direct their motion just right to escape the approaching predator. To understand the role of locomotion on these dynamic interactions Prof Soto, in collaboration with LAIR director Prof Clark, is working to develop a bio-inspired experimental testbed for aquatic predator-prey interactions. Our aim is to implement robotic tools to answer fundamental questions about the hunting behavior of fishes. 

This opportunity is for research credit (1-2 credits) during spring semester with the goal of continuing onto a paid summer research internship. The student researchers will be jointly mentored by Prof Soto and Prof Clark. Students will design, build, and control a bio-inspired robotic prey fish that will be used in predation experiments with live fish. This research requires experience in engineering design and modeling physical and mechanical systems (e.g., coursework in E79). Experience in robotics is preferred, but not required.

To apply for this research opportunity, please respond to the following questions:

  1. What aspect of this project is most interesting to you and why? 
  2. What skills and/or experience do you have that will be valuable for success in this project?
Name of research group, project, or lab
The Soto Lab
Why join this research group or lab?

The SotoLab studies the biomechanics of locomotion, with an emphasis on aquatic locomotion. Our research techniques include high-speed video, image processing and computer vision, mathematical modeling, and robotics. We are particularly excited to be working with the LAIR research group to design, build, and control bio-inspired robots. An ongoing collaboration with marine biologists from the SharkLab at CSU Long Beach is aimed at understanding white shark behavior and locomotion.

Representative publication
Logistics Information:
Project categories
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

This work requires experience in engineering design and modeling physical and mechanical systems (e.g., coursework in E79). Experience working with robotics is preferred, but not required.

Time commitment
Spring - Part Time
Summer - Full Time
Academic Credit
Paid Research
Number of openings
Techniques learned

Students will learn how to design and build testbeds for aquatic locomotion experiments, which may include: robotics, 3D modeling, mathematical modeling, high speed video, and image analysis.

Contact Information:
Mentor name
Alberto Soto
Mentor email
Mentor position
Postdoctoral Scholar, Principal Investigator
Name of project director or principal investigator
Alberto P. Soto
Email address of project director or principal investigator
2 sp. | 1 appl.
Hours per week
Spring - Part Time (+1)
Spring - Part TimeSummer - Full Time
Project categories
Robotics (+3)